“The inspiration was drawn from an episode of Full House,” said Perry Eaton, co-founder of hyper-local Boston music blog Allston Pudding. In the episode for which the blog is named, Uncle Jesse is opening the Smash Club downtown and hires DJ’s favorite band, Human Pudding, to play.
“Human Pudding rocked so hard,” Eaton said. “The only song that they played was called ‘Human Pudding,’ and the only lyrics to that song was ‘Human pudding.’”
And so Allston Pudding was named.
Eaton met the two other founders of the blog while attending Boston University: Daniel Schiffer was his neighbor in Sleeper Hall during their freshman year in 2008. The two became close friends, and then met Jarrett Carr the next year when he moved onto their floor. All three Boston University students shared an interest in music and a lack of other extra curricular activities. By Schiffer and Eaton’s junior year, the friends had hit what Eaton calls a “mid-college crisis.”
“None of us were really involved in too much other than going to a lot of concerts,” Eaton said.
In order to put a constructive spin on their love of music, they came up with the idea to start a music blog focused on the Boston music scene. Starting off as a Tumblr page, the website was opened in 2010 with the goal of spreading the word about local bands.
Prior to starting Allston Pudding, Eaton and Schiffer both had past experience working in the music industry. During the summer before their junior year, they worked with The Bowery Presents, a concert promotion and venue management organization. Schiffer, who is from Brooklyn, worked in the New York branch while Eaton, who grew up in Newton, worked at the Boston location.
“We came back and we wanted an outlet to vent our musical feelings through,” Schiffer said.
They also wanted to give a voice to the Boston community, Eaton added, especially to bands that were struggling financially and didn’t have places to practice. The three had no big expectations for the site, which was started as just a small experiment.
“Our big thing was just being able to work with artists on a first-hand basis,” Eaton explained. “We really try to help them first before we help ourselves.”
Yet their small experiment quickly grew in popularity. People began to recognize the name Allston Pudding even just a few months after the site’s launch. The blog seemed to spread by word of mouth, with friends and band members reposting and sharing Allston Pudding’s articles.
“That was pretty cool because at that point, we hadn’t done anything special to push it out other than just writing it online and posting about it,” Schiffer said.
Schiffer claims that every so often, the Allston Pudding sweatshirt can be seen floating down Commonwealth Avenue.
“In our prime, when we were seniors, walking from West Campus on a given day, you would see people wearing it,” Schiffer said.
Once the blog gained some recognition, the next phase of its development was hiring more writers, photographers and videographers. The staff, run on an entirely volunteer basis, started out only among the three founders’ friends but gradually expanded over the past four years. Since its creation, the site has employed about 50 people.
“One of the big hooks for being a writer is that you get to go to shows for free,” Schiffer said. “In the beginning, that’s what I was the most excited for. But then as you work with it, it kind of evolves as you get to help build the community.”
Though the blog sometimes features an advertisement or two, all of the money generated is recycled back into the upkeep of the site, meaning the staff makes little, if anything, from all of their hard work.
“It’s not about the money. It’s about building the community,” Schiffer said. “That’s why this isn’t my day job. If it were, then the site would probably be a lot different. It’s really about the community and giving back.”
It makes sense that the website isn’t a lucrative gold mine for the staff. According to Eaton, a lot of the bands that are featured on the site also don’t make a lot of money. Both the musicians and the Allston Pudding staffers share a common purpose: They do what they do because they love it.
“It’s a labor of love, and we’ll continue to do it until the love is gone,” Eaton said.
Fortunately, there is a lot to love about the Boston music scene.
“A lot of the bands are really good, first of all,” Eaton said. “It’s not like it seems like work ever, to work with the bands. I think we’ve all kind of taken the stance that once it feels like work is when we’re going to stop working with Boston musicians, and I don’t see that happening in the foreseeable future.”
Today, the staff is half-comprised of college students. Allston Pudding not only provides them with a chance to go to events for free, but also gives them a great opportunity to build their portfolios. For the staff writers who have already graduated from college, Allston Pudding is about finding a group of peers that have similar interests.
“You lose that when you’re out of college,” Eaton said. “You’ll miss college, so some people will join the adult basketball league at the YMCA. And then there’s the people that join the Allston Pudding writing team.”
Both Eaton and Schiffer have day jobs apart from Allston Pudding, though they have the blog to thank for those opportunities. The Boston Globe, impressed with Allston Pudding, hired Eaton to help out with the development of a new website, BDCwire, which focuses on music, movies, theater and art in Boston. Schiffer, through a more complicated series of events, met the CEO of the company for which he currently works while trying to obtain free earplugs for the blog’s photography staff.
Even though they are both busy with their jobs, they still devote time to Allston Pudding. Even if, in Eaton’s case, it means just being the site’s number one fan.
“I would say that where I’m working with BDCwire now and what I was doing with Allston Pudding in the past shares the same collective mission to support artists,” Eaton said of his new job. “I would say my roles continues in that, just in another form and title.”
Schiffer said though he cannot disclose any details now, they have big plans for the future of the site. Mainly, their goal is to keep spreading the word about Boston music to more and more people by adding new writers and contributors who are passionate about music.
“The Boston music scene is a great one,” Eaton said. “Boston University students should feel very privileged to go to school and be able to be immersed in such creativity.”